Washington, DC.- (GreekNewsOnline, ANA-MPA)
Digital Policy, Communications and Media Minister Nikos Pappas concluded on Friday his week-long visit in the United States with meeting at the White House and the Department of State. He met at the White House with Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Global Economics and Finance – National Security Council / National Economic Council Mathew Haarsager and at the State Department with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Robert Strayer .
On Friday morning Minister Pappas and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan spoke at an event organized by the American Hellenic Institute, entitled Harnessing the Power of Innovation and Creativity.” Pappas and Cohen shared their thoughts on the unique opportunity presenting by the fact the United States will be the honored country at the 2018 Thessaloniki International Fair September 8-16, to further the U.S.-Greece bilateral relationship.
Upon his arrival to the US capital, Minister Nikos Pappas met with US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross at the Department of Commerce and briefed him on developments in the Greek economy and its future prospects.
“There could not be a better moment for this meeting with the US Secretary of Commerce as it was held on the day that Greece successfully tapped the markets, attracting more than twice the asked sum at an interest that some would not believe we could achieve. It constitutes another confirmation of the already positive course of the Greek economy, the fact that the country has returned to normality and achieved notable performance and that its prospects for the future are even more optimistic,” stated Pappas after the meeting.
He said that he had briefed the US secretary on the Greek economy’s prospects and the friendly climate for foreign investments.
“The US government and Mr. Ross personally give great weight to the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF), where the US will be the honoured country, and consider it an opportunity for major American enterprises to come to Greece and develop permanent relations with their Greek equivalents and, through them, with the wider region of southeastern Europe. The US secretary assured me that he will visit TIF personally,” said Pappas.
Nikos Pappas – who is accompanied in his tour by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Jonathan – visited the United States in order to attract investments in the audiovisual sector as well as candidate exhibitors for the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) 2018.
Boston was the third of Nikos Pappas’ trip to the United Stated and he met with the management of Acacia Communications (one of the largest fibre optic companies worldwide), with the Media Lab executives of MIT and with the management of the Cambridge Innovation Center.
At the meeting at Acacia Communications headquarters, the Greek side presented the plans for the development of a fibre-optic network across the country so that all citizens, regardless of their place of residence, have access to high-speed networks. Pappas referred to secured funding to promote the deployment of networks and the need for Greece to make a technological leap in the field, using fibre optics, as it now has the most expensive and at the same time the slowest internet in Europe.
At MIT Media Lab, one of the most dynamic laboratories of the well-known American University, the Minister of Digital Policy, Telecommunications and Media had the opportunity to meet not only its executives but also Greek and Greek-American students, who presented their projects.
At the Cambridge Innovation Center, they discussed bringing small and innovative outfits at the start-up incubator to this year’s TIF.
During the meetings, the government side stressed that the TIF 2018 is the ideal gateway for American companies in Greece – and, through it, to the wider region of southeastern Europe – especially at a time when the Greek economy has returned to a clear positive performance and its prospects are even more auspicious.
On his part, Pappas stressed: “Greece can no longer afford the luxury of lagging behind in the new revolution unfolding before our eyes, that of new technology. This year’s Thessaloniki International Fair is an important opportunity to bring to our country businesses and scientists from the USA, who are at the cutting edge of technological developments internationally. By developing partnerships at this level, Greece will turn the page once and for all.”
IN SAN FRANCISCO
In San Francisco, the second stop of his tour after Los Angeles, Pappas visited Facebook’s headquarters, Electronic Arts (one of the largest video game companies in the world), AirBnB and Lockheed Martin, which is constructing the Hellas Sat 4 satellite, to be launched into the Greek orbit zone before the end of the year.
The discussion at Facebook’s headquarters focused on the issue of fake news and the Greek side developed the initiatives of the Ministry of Digital Policy to create an Online Media Registry, through which state advertising could be used to set transparency rules in online information.
At Electronic Arts, Pappas gave a detailed account of the new incentive framework already set up by the Greek side and of the available funds totaling 450 million euros over the next five years that will fund the subsidy of 25 pct of the selected costs for audiovisual productions – including video games and animation – in Greece.
In discussions with AirBnB, the prospects for the development of Greek tourism and the presence of the group in Greece were explored.
The Greek mission also traveled to Lockheed Martin’s premises in San Francisco and had the opportunity to see the Hellas Sat 4 satellite shortly before it entered the final test stage.
“We had the opportunity to meet with American companies, which are leaders in their fields on a global scale. We informed their directors that the Greek economy has turned a page and that now Greece is a safe and friendly place for international investors. We explored the prospects of expanding their presence in our country and of further developing collaborations,” Pappas said.
Minister Pappas’ first stop was in Los Angeles, where he visited large television and film studios. In talks with senior executives at Netflix, Disney and Paramount, the minister and his colleagues presented the new incentives framework that Greece has completed in order to attract major productions of the audiovisual sector around the world. They also presented the recent positive performance of the Greek economy and invited US companies to invest in Greece, starting with their participation in the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF) 2018 this September, where the USA is the honoured country.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of the State Department for European and Eurasian Affairs, Jonathan Cohen, stressed the importance the US government attaches to the further development of Greek-American relations, but also to American participation as a honoured country in TIF 2018.
On the occasion of the meetings, Pappas pointed out: “We are here to give the message that the Greek economy is turning a page. Unemployment has fallen by six points over the last three years, 320,000 jobs have been created, the economy has returned to growth, industrial output and foreign investment are rising. Greece is investing in the development of road, telecommunications and energy networks, in order to be upgraded into a hub for the wider region of southeastern Europe. Our country welcomes foreign investment, US businesses that want to invest in Greece and – through it – in the wider region. In this context, there is no better ‘entry point’ than the September TIF, which is expected to show its best performance of the last decade.”